Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Alison Wonderland - Helen Smith

'Not everything is what it seems.'

Alison Temple employed a detective agency hoping that they would prove her wrong in her suspicion that her husband was being unfaithful, but her suspicions were correct. She leaves him, and begins working at the very same female detective agency that she used: Fitzgerald's Bureau of Investigation in London. Now Alison is the one following errant husbands around on behalf of other women also looking to have their worst fears confirmed. 

In amongst all the deceit she witnesses, her friend Taron provides a welcome escape. Though the bulk of what she says is in fact, fiction, Alison realises that Taron's behaviour and eccentricities aren't perhaps as ridiculous as it might first seem: 'I feel miserable as I leave the office tonight, and suddenly Taron represents a kind of logic and stability in this crazy world. At any rate, even though her head is filled with nonsense, I think the only person she has ever deceived is herself.'

There are several interesting supporting characters; I enjoyed reading about Mrs Fitzgerald, and I also liked the psychic postman, who 'often comments on letters he's delivering. 'Good news,' he'll say, popping something through someone else's letterbox.' Alongside the other exploits that Alison gets involved in, the plot also brings up varied subjects from abandoned babies to scientists creating new animal forms.

It's an interesting, inventive novel, amusing and weird, yet also, for me at least, it was quite confusing at times. It may not be for everyone, and at times I felt less drawn in to the story, when I wanted to feel more involved in it, and perhaps grasp more of the ideas that the writer puts forward. It doesn't have a straightforward or easy-to-follow plotline, which may or may not make you want to read this book.

However, it is certainly something rather different to most novels I tend to read, and the author has written a creative and thought-provoking work, with a nice juxtaposition of Alison's personal and professional lives, and some insightful observations of human nature.

I think the title is very clever, and the cover is striking, cleverly designed and very appealing and quirky, which suits the book.

Published by Amazon Encore

You can follow the author on twitter @emperorsclothes  and visit her website here.

Thank you to the author for kindly sending me a copy of this novel to read and review.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read and I love that postman! haha...

    1. Yes I think it would fit on your 'eclectic' bookshelf! :) He's good isn't he! Thanks for commenting Melissa.


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